Jul 10, 2013 • By

Looking toward growth in the new fiscal year

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In the heart of New York City’s bustling financial district, General Mills executives told investors Tuesday that they have planned a year with healthy levels of sales and earnings growth ahead.

After ringing the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange, several of the company’s leaders took the stage at this symbolic landmark to detail our plans for the coming fiscal year at our annual Investor Day.

Listen to the Fiscal 2014 Investor Day webcast

“We’ll be building on a strong track record of annual growth,” Ken Powell, chairman and CEO of General Mills, told investors. “Just five years ago only a quarter of our total sales, including our share of joint ventures, came from markets outside the U.S. Today, it’s more than one-third. Our global business portfolio gives us confidence that we can keep growing at an attractive rate.”

We told investors about the more than 200 new products (see “200 products launching worldwide”) that will be available in the first half of the fiscal year, with more to come later in the year.

General Mills will focus our 2014 growth efforts on our five global categories: cereal, yogurt, snacks, convenient meals, and ice cream.

Watch Juliana Chugg, president of the Meals division, discuss the company’s new plans to contemporize Hamburger Helper in this video.

To celebrate Investor Day and the re-launch of this iconic brand, General Mills served lunch on Wall Street, including new  Ultimate Hamburger Helper Three Cheese Marinara, new Sweet & Sour Chicken Helper, and Old El Paso tacos featuring new Stand N Stuff Soft Flour tortillas with new Old El Paso frozen entrees chicken and steak fajita filling.

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We also gave away hundreds of “Lefty” souvenirs, and it was powerful for me to see the passion people have for this popular brand – more than 1 million households eat Helpers for dinner each weeknight in the U.S. (Photo: Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext)

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In this video clip, Shawn O’Grady, SVP and the president of Sales and Channel Development, talked about his presentation, and the experience of being at the NYSE.

In the meeting with investors, Ken discussed what was in store for shareholders in the coming year, and how the company remains committed to returning cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase. Plans for 2014 include a 15 percent increase in dividends paid, along with share repurchases designed to reduce average diluted shares by 2 percent.

Hear Ken discuss these plans, and our new products, in our video interview with him on the exchange floor.

For more details from Ken about our growth plans, take a look at interviews he did with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” and Fox Business.

I’ve been fortunate to visit the New York Stock Exchange a number of times throughout my career with General Mills, but the power and the magic of walking the exchange floor and watching the opening bell in person never changes.

We captured more highlights of our Investor Day in this photo slideshow.

Editor’s note: The photos at the top of this post are courtesy of Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext.